A white circle with the words win life and the word " life ".

Laying the Foundation for Future Success

We start to win or lose the biggest game the day we are born by what we are taught and how we react.

Our personalities are influenced by our surroundings: our parents, siblings, the things we watch on TV and the computer, school, and the company we keep.

Attending a quality early learning center as early as possible is a big plus. Why? Because our parents, although loving and caring, are generally not trained educators. It’s very important for all parents to seek as much guidance as possible and to enroll their children in a quality program that prepares them socially and emotionally. These are called essential personal life skills and they teach things that add to emotional intelligence, or EQ. Essential personal life skills are broken down into four basic categories: Knowing Me, Managing Me, Understanding Others, and Relating to Others. These categories are the foundation for understanding and managing yourself, and learning how to interact with others.

If academics is like the car that drives you, then essential personal life skills are like the steering wheel that guides you.

You can't drive a car without a steering wheel, right? 

How do you know when you are winning the biggest game: LIFE? How do you measure it?

Most people would think that if you are rich monetarily, you have won the biggest game. However, Joe Santoro's definition of being rich, or winning at life, is different:

You're winning at life if you:  Live a healthy lifestyle; know who you are and are comfortable in your skin; do things you like; make enough money for your lifestyle; and have friends and family who truly care about you and want to be with you.

Plenty of people are rich monetarily, and yet are poor in all the ways that matter most.

Money does make life comfortable and can be used for many good things.  However, Francis Bacon said it well: “Money is a great servant but a bad master.”

Let's break down what all the pieces of being rich or winning at life:

Living a healthy lifestyle

It is very difficult to be happy and content if you’re not healthy. Portions of your health are predicated on a few things; genetics, your environment, your activity level, and what you eat. You can’t change your genes, so you have to work with what you have. However, even with the best genes, if you don’t take care of yourself you will ultimately be unhealthy.

Being healthy also includes your environment. Do not expose yourself to unhealthy situations, and take precautions. Many years ago I asked my doctor how to stay healthy. His answer was simple: "Wash your hands." We are acutely aware of this today: germs get on your hands and you ultimately touch your face, which spreads germs to you and others. 

Knowing Who You Are

Learn to love yourself. Every individual is unique and has unique strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths. Learn what you like and what you dislike. Do what you like. If you do what you like, you will probably do it well. When you do something well, you will probably get paid well.
The expression, “You can be whatever you want to be” is really not true, because everyone has limitations. If you were 5 feet tall and wanted to be a basketball player, that will probably not happen. But if you like basketball, however, you could be a manager or possibly an owner. The key is to be comfortable with yourself and be the best you can be.

Doing what you like

If you are doing things you like to do, you have a better chance of doing them well. How do you determine what you like? It starts with honest self-evaluation. Today with the internet you have access to learning about many different jobs. Take the time with your parents and/or a career counselor and go through your options. Uncover things you might really want to do as well as the qualifications needed for that job.  Also, make time for activities you enjoy doing outside of work.  Leisure activities are important too!

Making enough money for your lifestyle - living within your means

Doing what you like may not lead to the highest-paying job, so your lifestyle must fit your income. If you go for the highest-paying job but do not like the work, you will never be completely happy.  If you spend more money than you make, you'll end up with debt you cannot pay, and that's miserable.  Don't spend more than you earn, and you'll have a comfortable life without the mental stress of debt hanging over your head. 

Having friends and family who love you and truly care about you

In today’s world, you may have people who follow you on social media. However, having people in your life who care about you and want to be with you is something very different. Relationships take work, trust, respect, and tolerance. Friends are the family you pick.

You were born into your family, though, and family has a responsibility to each other. Having a tight-knit family who wants to spend time together is priceless.

How do you learn all the skills needed to win the biggest game - LIFE?

We put together a program called Alive2Thrive which teaches essential personal life skills that is good for anyone from age 12 to 60, and is broken down into four categories:

Learning to love yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses.

Developing self-control and handling your impulses and emotions. Being truthful with yourself and developing better decision-making, critical thinking skills, and direction. Setting and directing your goals.

Developing empathy and understanding the emotions, perceptions, and needs of others.

Enhancing communication and conversation skills, enabling conflict management, constructive resolution, teamwork and collaboration to meet goals. Being able to serve others and meet their needs.

The Alive2Thrive program is based upon single-point lessons, followed by two questions, a tip on moving forward, and a discussion. The lessons are on this website and in book form, and they are simple and achievable.

Learning these skills and practicing them daily will put you well on your way to winning the biggest game: LIFE. 

A man in black jacket and sunglasses on top of a hill.


The focus of this book is helping people understand themselves, and better relate to others. All profits from this book will go to the SANTORO EDUCATIONAL LIFESKILLS FOUNDATION.

The author’s definition of rich is, “A person is rich if they are healthy, know who they are, are comfortable in their own skin, doing what they like, making enough money to support the lifestyle they desire, and who has family and friends who love them and truly want to be with them”.

By Joe Santoro, PhD of Life

A woman standing on top of a mountain with her arms in the air.



This book is for anyone from ages 12 to 60 and is all about how to develop personal life skills to enhance your life. It is broken down into 36 short lessons in four major categories, which the author calls The Power of Four:
  • Knowing Me
  • Managing Me
  • Understanding Others
  • Relating To Others

The Power of Four lessons are short and simple, each one a single-point message along with tips on the best way to achieve results. This book is designed to be a workbook. You can use it by yourself, with others, or in groups. Also, a mentor can use this to help others or it can also be used as a journal.

By Joe Santoro, PhD of Life

How to use santorofoundation.org

This website is a free resource of material to help improve your personal life skills and emotional intelligence.  The material on this website ranges from individual “sayings” to a full curriculum program called Alive2Thrive.  To help you become your best self, please review all this site has to offer.  Please pass this site along to others so they can be the best they can be too!